Of all the futuristic promises that were made at the end of the 20th century, mobile digital payments is one of the handful that our society has delivered. Whenever you have to pay for something, there is a very good chance you can do it with your card, phone, or even watch. During the first decades of the 21st century, cash has gone from the primary American form of payment to third place. Debit cards jogged past in 2018, and credit cards followed in the first pandemic year, 2020.
Now, cash usage has dipped below 20 percent of transactions, only seven points above direct bank transfers and only five above “other.” Every day, we inch closer to the mythical cashless society, a transition that is great for the companies that manage the digital money system but not necessarily wonderful for the rest of us.